Morality and Religion
Morality and Religion
There is a close relationship between morality and ethics but they do not mean the same thing. On the other hand, anti-morality and anti-nature are aspects, which negate vital instincts. Friedrich Nietzsche is a renowned philosopher who criticized social laws, religion, and honorable in a radical manner. Nietzsche argues that, “anti-nature refers to the idea of allowing human beings to coerce others into adopting their beliefs and morals” (Friedrich 404). Friedrich Nietzsche had a personal belief that morality is anti-nature.
In fact, Nietzsche states that, “Every naturalism in morality-that is every health morality-is dominated by an instinct of life” (349). Indeed, Nietzsche helps us to define the idea of anti-nature by asserting that a human being is seemingly refuting the reality by denying their personal passion. In fact, according to Nietzsche and his moral philosophy, the healthiest moralities accommodate natural aspects while the unhealthy moralities negate nature. Nature derives human desires, which consequently define individual personality and how human beings behave.
Nietzsche observes that human beings should have the free will to choose what they want without coercion from any external forces. He further quotes that, “Anti-natural molarity-that is almost every morality which has so far been taught, revered, and preached-turns conversely against the instincts of life: it is condemnation of these instincts” (349). He also disputes the common notion that religions like Christianity drive human life and consequently asserts that religion and dominance of morality inhibits human nature.
In this context, Nietzsche argues that ardent followers of a certain religion ignore the nature of humanity since religion forces individuals to behave in a manner that will please the supreme ruler of the reference religion. Friedrich Nietzsche holds that religion especially Christianity opposes human nature because it gives a leeway to individuals to adopt religious doctrines about human life hence limiting individuals from celebrating nature. Indeed, Nietzsche states that the most general foundation of every religion and morality is, “Do this and that, refrain from this and that,-then you will be happy” (352)!
He uses this explanation to support the concept of anti-nature in morality. Notably, Nietzsche refers to morality as anti-nature by asserting that human desires control what individuals do, do not do, and confirms that morality draws away the course of nature. Nevertheless, various philosophers identify with the fact that nature generates human desires that consequently define human personality and morality. However, I strongly oppose Nietzsche’s notion that human nature is prone to alternation by both morality and religion.
Most specifically, I note that Nietzsche depicts religious people like Christians as hypocrites who can do anything to please God at the expense of altering their human nature. Ideally, Christians are rational beings who do not have such morality. Indeed, very few Christians would identify with Nietzsche’s argument since his ideas discourage Christians from following their religion. Notably, Nietzsche’s argument that religion alters human nature by allowing Christians to adopt different aspects of life that prevent them from celebrating life is misguided.
This is because Christians have morals that allow them to enjoy their lives just like any other person. In fact, his argument is not universal since it only addresses Christians thus leaving a significant population out. Assuredly, Nietzsche discourages people from adopting religion’s doctrines that alter human passions but encourages people to follow their human desires (Jacobus 67). I also oppose Nietzsche’s argument since it does not support religion and thus discourages many Christians from adopting his views.
In fact, I will compare Nietzsche’s moral philosophy with Iris Murdoch’s philosophy with a view of disregarding the assertions of Nietzsche’s reference to morality as anti-nature. Notably, Iris Murdoch addresses the concept of morality where she incorporates religion in addressing morality. In fact, her argument does not discourage the adoption of religious doctrines in morality thus attracting the attention of Christians and other religious people. Unlike, Nietzsche who blames religion for altering human nature and passions, Murdoch believes that religion affects morality in a positive manner.
Nietzsche uses the naturalistic perspective to support his argument where the naturalistic perspective on religion contradicts with the idea of human beings by taking the responsibility of controlling their given passions and nature. More so, Nietzsche’s criticism on the effects of religion on human morality does not correlate with any religious, philosophical, social, or historical example and hence its irrationality. As such, Nietzsche’s argument lacks logic to me. On the other hand, Nietzsche does not incorporate the idea of human responsibility, which every human being should adopt.
In fact, the act of satisfying individual responsibility is a moral behavior that resides outside the premises of religion. Actually, some philosophers like Murdoch claims that religion improves right morals by instilling a conviction and belief of doing the right things while out of control. Indeed, religion plays a noble role of encouraging humans to abide by the code of ethics set by the government or any relevant institution. In fact, Murdoch asserts that religion plays a huge role in generating someone’s morals by instilling the urge to remain focused on individual objectives.
She further confirms that human nature accommodates the aspect of fulfilling one’s responsibility. With this argument, we can derive that religion does not alter human nature and that responsibilities propel human beings to decide and behave in a certain manner. Again, this assertion is stronger than that of Nietzsche, which claims that religion inhibits human nature. Michael Gazzaniga seemingly opposes Nietzsche ideologies in some way. According to Gazzaniga, people who believe in religion would only be classified under Nietzsche ideology of anti-nature if they allowed religion to take over their life (Jacobus 415-420).
It is agreeable that some religion fanatics have taken religion to control everything in their life. Therefore, such people would simply be anti-nature as argued by Nietzsche. However, the majorities of religious people have not gone to the extremities of religion and therefore, according to Gazzaniga, they are living normal lives naturally. Nietzsche limits discussions and contributions of other philosophers and commands the audience to believe in his beliefs. Indeed, Nietzsche is an anti-realist about morality.
This is because he does not abhor his positive views on morality and equally refutes all criticism against his views. In fact, he disregards any opinion that contradicts his own and thus his rhetoric character on morality. Indeed, he denies the objective of morality by believing that human beings have the responsibility of determining their morality, a fact Gazzaniga negates when he says that those who have control of religion have control of nature and morality as well (Jacobus 415-420).
At the same time, Nietzsche’s argument lacks the support of any political philosophy since his views lack a systematic approach about the society. On the other hand, Murdoch does not speak with finality, encourages the participation of other philosophers, and accords the audiences’ free will to accept his argument. Such a leeway only allows individuals to buy Murdoch’s argument with a view of improving it and rejecting Nietzsche’s argument since it is discouraging to Christians and is seemingly irrational. Moreover, Nietzsche’s argument only presents what is wrong but does not present what is right while Murdoch helps us to derive the difference between right and wrong morals.
Notably, Nietzsche argues that human beings cannot redeem themselves after neglecting their nature desires. This assertion is wrong since human beings always have a desire to fix their wrongs with a view of becoming better people in the society. Moreover, contrary to Nietzsche’s argument, it is factual that individuals can only achieve their goals by following their convictions and beliefs and denying their human desires, which mostly lead to immorality. Notably, religion derives this conviction, which encourages followers to adopt good morals and avoid sin as it leads to punishment.
This negates Nietzsche’s claim that religion alters human nature and that human desires define morality. As such, I dispute Nietzsche’s views, which discourage religion from instilling the right morals and consequently identify with the idea that humans have the capacity to define their morals naturally. I agree that our morals depend on our conviction and not our desires as Nietzsche claims. Additionally, I disagree with Nietzsche’s idea that nature plays no role in defining our morals since nature plays a significant role in determining our behaviors.
As such, I reject Friedrich Nietzsche’s assumption that morality is anti-nature. Works Cited Friedrich, Nietzsche. The Selected Writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. Lanham: Start Publishing LLC, 2013. Internet resource. Jacobus, Lee. A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print. Nietzsche, Friedrich. “Morality as Anti-Nature. ” 347-356. Murdoch, Iris, “Morality and religion. ” Jacobus 363-371 Gazzaniga, Michael. “Toward a Universal Ethics. ” Jacobus 419-431.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 23 November 2016
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